UK Maritime Authorities Detain Another P&O Ferry Over ‘Deficiencies’

By Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.
April 13, 2022 Updated: April 13, 2022

British maritime authorities detained another vessel operated by P&O Ferries on Tuesday owing to “a number of deficiencies.”

The vessel, Spirit of Britain, which normally operates across the English Channel between Dover, England, and Calais, France, is the third vessel detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Authority (MCA) since the UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ordered the agency to carry out detailed inspections of all P&O vessels following the company’s abrupt dismissal and replacement of almost 800 seafarers on March 17.

The company last week said it was expecting the Spirit of Britain to be ready to sail this week along with detained vessel Pride of Kent, which also serves the Dover–Calais route, but both vessels are now under detention.

An MCA spokesperson said on Tuesday evening that the Spirit of Britain was detained “due to surveyors identifying a number of deficiencies.”

“We have advised P&O to invite us back once they have addressed the issues. We do not know yet when this will be,” the spokesperson said.

Under Port State Control (PSC) regulations, the report on the detention will be published when the inspection is complete, which is when the vessel is released.

In a separate statement on Wednesday evening, the MCA said it had found “a number of additional deficiencies including in safety systems and crew documentation” following the reinspection of the Pride of Kent earlier on the day, and had advised P&O to address the issues and invite the agency back for further inspection.

The European Causeway, which was detained on March 25 after the MCA deemed it “unfit to sail” because of “failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation, and crew training,” has been released on Friday, and resumed service on the Larne–Cairnryan route between Northern Ireland and Scotland on Sunday.

The Pride of Hull, which sails between Kingston upon Hull, England, and Rotterdam, Netherlands, passed the PSC inspections carried out by the MCA and the Dutch authorities.

The Bahamas-flagged ship had been berthed at Rotterdam’s Europoort since the crew replacement before resuming service on Monday.

Three other P&O ferries are yet to be inspected. The European Highlander was cleared for a relocation voyage to Larne but is still to have its full PSC inspection.

Eight P&O Ferries in all will be inspected through the Port State Control regime by the MCA.

In an email to The Epoch Times, a P&O Ferries spokesperson said: “The Spirit of Britain will remain berthed in its current port, following inspections by the Maritime and Coastguard Authority.

“In the past few days, both the European Causeway and the Pride of Hull have been deemed safe to sail by the MCA, and we continue to work with all relevant authorities to return all our ships to service.

“We take the safety of our passengers and crew very seriously and look forward to all of our ships welcoming tourist passengers and freight customers again as soon as all mandatory safety tests have been passed.”

Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.